Rohingya refugees will start repatriating back to Myanmar mid-November, after fleeing the military crackdown last year.
The host country Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement in November 2017, inducing the return of Rohingyas, although many have expressed fears over their return and scepticism over livelihoods.
After scrutinizing the situation, 22,000 names have been put on the list of returnees, and Naypyidaw has agreed to the return of 5,000 Rohingyas in the first phase.
Post the third Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting, both the countries made the decision of repatriation of the minority community but were met with friction from the international community and United Nations which expressed their concerns with the decision.
“UNHCR supports the voluntary and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees in safety and in dignity to their places of origin or choice and will work with all parties towards this goal. The repatriation of refugees is premised upon the free and informed decision by refugees, on an individual basis, to return" stated UN High Commissioner in a statement.
Over 720,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in August 2017 following a military crackdown, that comprised mass rape and killings. UN officials have demanded an investigation against the military leaders for genocide, although Myanmar has refuted these claims.
Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority nation, scorned the Rohingya community with hostility and by not taking this native ethnic group into consideration, calling them ‘Bengalis’, affirming that they belong in Bangladesh.
Acknowledging this bigotry, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “I have no doubt that the Rohingya people have always been one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world, without any recognition of the most basic rights starting by the recognition of the right of citizenship by their own country – Myanmar.”
This process of ‘othering’ of the identity of this native community began back in 2012, leveraging the vulnerability with institutionalized persecution, Myanmar military forces are complicit. The concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is also now amongst the densest in the world. The inundation of refugees has put a strain on the host communities.